What Is DRM?
DRM stands for "Digital Restrictions Management," though content providers will argue it stands for "Digital Rights Management." DRM refers to computer technology, hardware or software based, that restricts what a consumer is allowed to do with a copyrighted work. If you've ever been annoyed that you cannot copy a CD, DVD, or other digital media, this is DRM at work. See also Wikipedia's article on DRM.
Why Does DRM Exist?
DRM exists for the exclusive benefit of content producers and providers. Companies such as Disney, Sony, and Lion's Gate argue that DRM is needed to prevent people from pirating music, movies, and other works on P2P networks or by other means. What they won't tell you is that they are really trying to control who, what, when, where, and how you access your music and videos. For instance, when you purchase a song from Apple's iTunes Music Store, you are purchasing a song that can only be played by media applications that support QuickTime or an Apple iPod. Suppose next year you want to buy a new portable music player? Instead of having choice, you must now buy another iPod if you expect to play music you've already purchased.
Why Should I Care?
Content producers and providers are erecting barriers that prevent legitimate consumers who purchased their materials legally from exercising fair use of copyright. See Video and Music for examples. Additionally, these barriers also prevent new companies from creating new and innovative products. Most importantly however, thanks to legislation passed by Congress, DRM is futher protected by laws which make it a crime for citizens to excercise their 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech!
How Can I Help?
- Tell Congress to Stop!
- View legislation previously passed by and upcoming before Congress. Then write to your representatives and senators and voice your opinions. We have provided form letters that you can easily cut and paste.
- View our list of boycotts. Stop supporting technologies and companies that restrict what you can do with YOUR music and videos.
- Join the growing anti-DRM community in public protests throughout the world. Defective By Design is a new DRM awareness community that is leading the charge against manufacturers who insist upon infringing your fair use rights.
- Learn More!
- Educate yourself by learning more. There are great resources such as Wikipedia and arstechnica.
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation (http://www.eff.org) is probably the leading organization that is actively defending against DRM and other digital issues that are attacking our civil liberties and fair use rights. Donations can be made here.
- Support anti-DRM Products!
- There are companies, artists, and free products out there which take anti-DRM positions. You can support them by purchasing their products, songs, or just using free software. See Video and Music for more details.
- Join the Web Campaign!
- You can help stop DRM by putting our banner ad on your website. See About for more details and instructions.